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BRANCH BANKING | Tony Chua, Korea

Korean banks seek to step up Asia presence

Lenders seek to go beyond China and Southeast Asia to tap Kazakhstan, India and Bangladesh markets.

Korea’s four major commercial banks plan to expand their business networks in Asia’s emerging markets this year.

In particular, their 2012 targets include countries in central and Southern Asia as well as those in Southeast Asia, China and Japan.

“Aside from markets like China, Vietnam and Singapore, the banking industry began actively tapping Kazakhstan, India and Bangladesh,” a local banker said.

But he stressed that banks will still put priority on making inroads into large cities in China and Southeast countries.

Kookmin Bank is considering opening branches in China and Osaka, Japan this year.

In addition, the bank is moving to open a liaison office in Mumbai, India under its strategy to diversify operating networks.

View the full story in Korea Herald.

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